Hundreds of council reps have met to discuss the future of local government in Western Australia.

This week’s Future of Local Government Forum was attended by 230 representatives from the sector, and included presentations by the Local Government Minister and local, interstate and international speakers.

The day event had two main components – an overview of the current Local Government Act review process and feedback; followed by information on interstate and overseas legislation and trends.

WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie said the forum sessions were largely interactive to help stimulate new ideas and creative thinking to contribute to the process of the Local Government Act review that has been underway for the past 12 months.

“We have an opportunity to create a new Local Government act and not just an updated version of the 1995 legislation,” Cr Craigie said.

“The sector has enjoyed a very positive relationship with the McGowan Government and in particular the Local Government Minister, not the least of which has been demonstrated in their willingness to consult with the sector on the changes to the Act.

“It is important that the Local Government sector has embraced the opportunity and wholesale review of pivotal legislation such as this does not happen very often.”

The forum sessions were also available via a WALGA webinar for Local Government representatives unable to travel to Perth for the event.

Cr Craigie said the WALGA position on the myriad facets of the Local Government Act review could be captured in the general principles of:

  • Councils maintaining general competence and autonomy in what is best for their communities
  • Legislation being based on flexible principles to declutter the current over regulatory framework
  • A compliance regime that recognises the diversity of size and scale of Local Governments in WA
  • Reducing red tape